Haitian President says No More Food Aid

March 16th, 2010

Tragedy hit Haiti in the form of a magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake on Tuesday January 12, 2010. In the Aftermath, the Haitian Government reported that between 217,000 and 300,000 people were dead, approximately 300,000 injured, and an estimated 1,000,000 homeless. Additionally, numerous residences and commercial buildings were completely destroyed or severely damaged. In short, the devastation had been so tremendous, that the likelihood of life returning to normal for the Haitian people seemed rather distant.

Several countries and organizations took action in response to pleas for aid, supplying food, money and resources to help Haiti in its time of need. Not a day went by in the weeks following the earthquake that scenes of Haiti’s wreckage and the desperation of the people were not shown through some media source. There were telethons, walkathons, signs posted on the streets and various advertisements, all encouraging people to give their help and support.

Therefore, it might come as a shock to some that Haiti’s President, Rene Preval wants food aid to his country to stop. He is now asking the US to cease sending food supplies to Haiti because the aid could hurt his country’s economy in the long term. He said that if the US continues to send aid it will be in competition with the national Haitian production and commerce.

This seems like a logical argument and some would agree that he is only looking out for the best interest of his country. However, the question begs to be asked, are we still expected to give other types of aid? Should we continue donating money?

If Haiti no longer requires food, are you still willing to give? Have your say…

 Refer to articles:

  1. Preval wants end to food aid 
  2. Long-term food aid risk to Haiti economy-Preval

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38 Responses to “Haitian President says No More Food Aid”

  1. Errol says:

    Before the quake Haiti needed food aid for the very poor.It is interesting that the president is looking out for the sellers not for the very poor who cannot afford to buy. That explains the great gulf between the poor and very rich in Haiti.

  2. Daniel says:

    Their president is very cruel.You can’t imagine how many people are still dying of hunger and thirst.He should not have said that.He is just looking out for the business men of Haiti.

  3. sandy wright says:

    Billions of dollars from all across the globe was collected to help the people of Haiti. It is only common sense that people do not only need food to function. What about houses, education, jobs etc. Will the world continue to feed the Haitians when they are able bodied people. I am in shock that all they are giving these people is food.

  4. CherCher says:

    This man is clueless. For days he was loafing around without any plan to help his country men even it was well known that this event would happen. The Haitian Ambassador to the US
    knew more about what was happening in Haiti than this useless president

  5. Ken says:

    The President of Haiti is correct. Foreign aid donors need to stop sending food and use the money instead to support the struggling farmers of Haiti. By spending the aid money to purchase food grown in Haiti, the donors would help to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Both of which the country is in desperate need of.

  6. Roxanne says:

    I can understand where he is comming from, the Haitians are going to have to go through a lot more suffering before things get better. No economy can survive on aid alone, Haiti is going to have to stand on their own two feet at one point.

    The point is that in a capitalist system, the rich have to do well first before the effects can trickle down (albeit slowly) to the poor. The rich need to be taxed, so as to be able to employ social programmes such as education and health. If the rich get poorer, this means less taxes in the pot to pay for services.

  7. Leo Mac says:

    He still suffering from shock, what commerce is he talking about. Will those displaced people be able to buy anything? With this attitude do you think I will contribute to any Haiti funds. The problem with Haiti is the politicians, they are corrupt and stupid. The Haitian people are the ones to suffer.

  8. nima allen says:

    That haitian president is only thinking about the business people.He is not concern about the very poor who got affected by the earthquake. where and how should the financial embarass people get food,without foreign aid? can the president afford to feed the very poor,freely? I think that president should shut his mouth and allow america to run things.

  9. cheekz says:

    UNGRATEFUL

  10. DJ Archie says:

    Haiti is setup to keep the very poor and poor that way. The well-off people in Haiti like the way things are and the President is doing his part to keep it that way.

  11. Monty Stephenson says:

    Where do these “leaders” come from? To be proud and and hungry is no virtue. I remember another imbecilic Caricom “leader” who once turned away food aid from the U.S.A. His excuse was he wanted to “encourage” his people to become more involved in agriculture and for them to grow their own food. The issue of what these people will be eating while the land is being prepared and the crops are growing escaped his attention. The fact is many of these “leaders” want to use food a tool to keep themselves in power. In order to control people, you have to make them dependent on you for the critical resources of life. In this case – food!

  12. goose says:

    The next step is for the Haitian President and government to ask for the billions in money already sent for Haiti by citizens of the world. He correctly hinted about two weeks ago that the United Nations has full control of that money (Haiti’s money)and none of it passes through the government’s hands. My problem is that people did not send money for the UN, they sent it for Haiti! The trick is that the developed countries (EU and possibly the US) will use this money to stimulate their own economies by spending all of it in those countries. All that Haiti will get is physical goods (no true national development). I bet you also that not one cent of that money will be spent in any Caricom country, despite the better logistics (proximity). So the true enemies of Haiti, who deposed its president in 2004, controls all the cash! Great trick! The excuse given is ‘corruption’. Great trick indeed!

  13. Courtney says:

    It would be interesting to see what is the views of the Haitians themselves.

  14. AC says:

    At some point Haiti will need to stop food shipments if the local economy can produce enough food to supply the country’s need. I applaud The Haitian leaders focus on improving the local economy, BUT I doubt that the economy has improved that much. A gradual shift from food supplies to infrastructure repair/improvement is what is needed here.

  15. Stacy says:

    I agree with him, regardless of his motives. Teach man, a country, a people to fish and feed them for Life. Aid is the worst thing ever, as believe it or not, the people who need it never get it, corruption is everywhere, but teach them to fish and you teach them independence and ensure growth. I agree

  16. Famous5 says:

    What I have been saying all along – the rich in Haiti are not volunteering to help, Haitians affected by the devastation & now they are only concerned with selling their goods. So how will people pay for the goods when their breadwinner is dead. How will orphanages cope with many children left homeless to be fed. This president is very thoughtless for the poor & thinking of the rich.

  17. sherry says:

    President Preval does not know what he is doing, so people do not need to listen to him. He still does not have any public school open for the childrne, in a tent or on the lawn with a canopy. Furthermore, the people are sitting out in the rain, when he has some large buildings that he can secure and make temporary shelters. He is the prseident and should use his power to take care of his citizens. The US must continue to send food or the people will starve to death. Until he gets his citizens out of the rain, all the children of Haiti in school one cannot pay him no mind. Furthermore, he needs to stop the orphanage business. There are foreigners in Haiti rude to the Haitian government and yet are taking Haitian children and using them to collect funds. Now tell me do you really respect Mr. Preval knowing he is an idiot.

  18. Gordon says:

    From what I understand most Haitians were subsistence farmers (farming for themselves.) So I don’t see how he is helping his economy really.

    However, I do agree that the money could be better used in longer lasting social programmes rather than quick fixes. Be it microloans, rebuilding hospitals and schools, and so on.

  19. Melodie says:

    I AGREE IN SOME SENSE WITH THE PRESIDENT OD HAITI BUT NOT IN FULL. HE SHOULD HAVE ASKED THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO LIMIT THE AMOUNG OF AID THEY SEND AND TRY SENDING STUFF THE UPLIFT THEIR ECONOMY FOR EXAMPLE MONEY…

  20. Disheartened says:

    Lets put it this way, this man is just a selfish. This country cannot survive on food aid alone, people are still dying and need critical medical attention.

    Even so, food in such a rundown country can never be enough. He ought to go down on his knees and thank God for the benefits he and his country derived from all this and because his corrupt government did nothing to ensure these buildings were suitable for habitation, he must thank God for life.

    We need to ask ourselves, what happens to the economy of Haiti in the next 10 years

  21. SEAN says:

    IT’S COMPLICATED….

  22. KD says:

    I gave Haiti money and I am finished. I do feel sorry for the people but Haiti is about to be almost debt free because first world nations about to void their enormous debt, and I guarantee you Haiti still wont be a better place because they have idiots running their country( just like Jamaica). These men who claim they are politicians in these country like my birth country, Jamaica, could care less about the good and civilized individuals who try to keep these countries afloat, instead they protect questionable men continue to make these countries be known for savage behaviours. I’m disgusted with all these leaders and their foolish behavior, they are so called educated and still a bunch of morons.

  23. esme says:

    I am a jamaican in haiti right now. haitian markets are full of fresh produce. food aid is needed in the short term (its been 3 months since the quake) to help those who have no homes, are hosting displaced relatives, etc, and the very poor. However food aid cant go on forever, and the countryside was not terribly affected by the quake. Farmers need tools and seeds, fertiliser, etc to catch the planting season that started in march. many aid agencies are also giving cash donations to affected households so people can buy food but also clothes and shoes, repair homes, start small businesses, etc. Food aid is a bandaid, not a solution. It is also true that most of the foreign monetary aid has not gone to the haitian govt. Much of it has gone on the upkeep of all the military forces here, so dont be fooled by the big numbers supposedly donated to haiti.

  24. fabby white says:

    This move by the haitian president can only be logical if haiti has or had contracts with countries or foreign buisnesses to market their produce.If he wants to stimulate the haitian economy he needs to get up off his behind and fly to jamaica usa china etc etc and ask for short term contracts for haiti to supply goods and services at a humanitarian rate.Its not about producing a product its about having a market for the produce.What sense is it to help farmers in this global economy if u dont have a market for their produce.Just take a look at what globalization did to our banana industry.I recommend he takes AC advice.

  25. imagine the amount of persons who would like to receive the benefit of getting food; the amount of persons who are unable to afford this precious commodity and he is saying they don’t want anymore. I do hope that persons will take this into consideration when giving aid to countries who have gone through a disaster. if it was just affecting him alone persons should just stop giving them aid. But I do urge persons to continue helping those who need it most the children. There is a God after all he will deal wit the president accordingly.

  26. maxine brown says:

    I totally agree the the Hatan Government. What is needed now is the donation is given in cash instead of kind. They are now focusing on rebuilding homes, schools, hospitals and churches etc. so please understanding the situation and do not think one sided.

  27. Antonette W. says:

    I could understand if this president presented this discussion a few months from now. Haiti is still in the worst condition that anyone could imagine. This is not the correct time to stop donors from sending food. As for commerce, I wonder what he is speaking about. We have been led to believe that most of the commerce was destroyed. Who is he defending? He has not handled himself well. From the beginning of this crisis, he has presented himself as a very weak and unprepared leader. If I were Haitian, I would not be proud to have him as my leader. Jamaicans, please take note so that this never happens to us.

  28. lloyd says:

    I think the Haitian people needs better leadership. A great deal of Haiti’s debts were canceled due to the earth quake. The country has the opportunity to rebuild and become a model Caribbean country. A place of prosperity, a place of law and order, a place where education is easily accessed, and a place where good moral values are a way of life. Many Haitian’s have turned to God due to the severity of the disaster. However, the Haitian Diaspora needs to be a part of the rebuilding process. Many educated Haitians live in the US, Canada, & France, who could be a part a better Haiti. They can change the political climate for better. The current president is not fit to lead his people. During the crisis he was no where to be found and I only heard him comment on the missionaries that were taking the children out of the country for a better life and no this food thing. May the God open his eyes.

  29. M. Sims says:

    I am so appalled at the request made by the Haitian President. He is telling organizers (US) of international aid relief that he does not need help.

    But how could this be, when every scene of Haiti today is of people suffering and in need of help. The extent of the devastation has crippled the Haitian economy immensely. He, the president, clearly pointed out that the destruction caused by the earthquake has destroyed businesses, hence, there is no work for the people of Haiti.

    Today, the people need food, clothes, health care, and most importantly, shelter, with the growing rate of rape cases.

    Today, the Haitian government expenditure has shown a track record of very little being done for the people.

    Today, The country is economically incapable of standing on its own. Relief efforts during the aftermath of the earthquake proved the government incapable to rescuing its own people.

    Today, families are, giving their children away to adoption agencies because they are unable to provide for them.

    Today the people of Haiti are crying for help.

    How can you then say you do not need help with something so vital as food, Mr. President.

    It was heart wrenching watching the media coverage of the situation unfolding in Haiti. And today, it still is.

    Please, consider the needs of your people TODAY. there is no money to spend, there are limited businesses in operation, inflation I am sure in the coming years will quadruple, so don’t be concerned about FUTURE market competition.

    TODAY it should be about catering to the suffering in your country and the well being of your people.

    After all that, I am hoping he was miss quoted, no offense to the media.

  30. jack frost says:

    Let us all get real, the President of Haiti said he does not need any more food aid. He has enough food supply ,he still needs aids in other areas but not food,its very plain to understand.

  31. M. Sims says:

    In response to Mr Frost comment. I would accept that fact if he had stated that he has enough food aid. But when he goes on to say that the amount of food aid being received will impact on the economy in the future it begs to question his statement, is it that he has enough food aid. Or does it mean that the food supplies being received means that for the coming future there will be little spending to boost the economy, at which point will ask, but your people have no jobs, as all were destroyed and will take time to boost activity.

    Where do you stand with that particular comment?

  32. BOB says:

    I agree with the president of Haiti..what need to be done now is ‘ donor nations should use what ever money they collected . to source material for the reconstruction of the country.. and this must be done in a two prong approach. in the initial stage simultaneously..

    one start the building of government and houses for the poorest of the haitians people. at the same time..
    after those two project has been compleated.. or while they are going on . the un and some engineering firm along with the hatian authorities. could sit together and work out on a different leven to supply materials to individuals who have the capability to rebuilt their own houses or businesses. but with the new building code plan.. make sure that the infrustructure are also be put in places where needed before allowing any one to do their own rebuilding!..

    Those who are entrusted to do their own building will have to fallow strict building code guidelines set out by the UN and the Haitian authority.. all dwellings and businesses must pass these strict building test in different stages of construction.

    This is the best way I believe that the rebuilding should go.. where once every thing is done. the very poor will be lifted out literally out of poverty!… they will see tourism come to their country. and they will have a better sense of life and have more hope
    The government will have a much easier way to govern its people.. the violence will subside..
    The money must not be given to no one in the Haitian Government to be used to do nothing.. all they should get is material. and not just thrown in the hands of the government either.. but carefully laid out as I stated.. have all the areas well marked. well calculated . how much materials it will take to do the jobs.. every thing must be measured carefully
    as to avoid fraud!. in the system..
    so the planning stage must be carefully done!…

  33. veejay says:

    What is Preval’s plan of action for Haiti? Prior to the earthquake the country would have done well with food aid. The level of poverty among the lower class has only been highlighted by the devastation. What will Preval feed the people with during the time when things should grow and the country rebuilds itself?
    I believe that Preval’s problem is that he does not have a political handle on the food Aid. If he had, the people would still be starving. He needs to work with what is being given to the country and put a plan in place to get his country on track. This time allowing the wealth to be distributed evenly – if it ever can be!

  34. Marc says:

    His request is one that warrants review, the fact is the earthquake hit port of prince but left the north end of island and most of the centre untouched. Haiti’s capital is gone but its agricultural sector is mostly intact.An influx of free food might actually destroy the country’s ability to feed its people on its own. Imagine you can either pay for local goods or get free food, after a while the farmers woud not even be to compete and just have to give up.

  35. frantz says:

    I am a Haitian. If you were not familiar with Haiti’s state before the quake, it would be hard to understand the statement made or sentiment expressed by the Haitian Gov. For starters, Aid by definition is a debilitating concept, think about the “beggar” you’ve been giving food to everyday or every now and then, well has your help changed his/her state? Don’t think so. I just wish the Haitian Gov had made this statement 25 years ago, then we would not have been in this mess. 2 sum up, if aid (of any sort) starts flowing into Jamaica, jus know wi ded!

  36. Elty B says:

    Does it matter?…..does anyone care really?…why did the world sit around for years long before the earthquake watching them eat mud cookies and drink putrid water? we are all such hypocrites.With or without it Haiti will be Haiti as it has always been….nothing but wasteland.

  37. nicole says:

    SO IF THEY HAVE SO MUCH FOOD THAT THEY REFUSING FOOD.. WHY IS THE JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT WILL TO DISH $9MILL A WEEK OUT.. SEND THEM HOME.. WE HAVE OUR OWN PROBLEMS… HELP THE JAMAICANS FIRST.

  38. Debbie says:

    Sad very sad no respect for each other

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